Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Aron Ralston

In 2003, while he was on a hiking trip in Blue John Canyon (near Moab, Utah), a boulder became dislodged, crushing his right forearm and pinning it against the canyon wall. Ralston had not told anyone of his hiking plans and knew no one would be searching for him. Assuming that he would die, he spent five days slowly sipping his small amount of remaining water while trying to extricate his arm. His efforts were futile, however, and he could not dislodge his arm even slightly. He eventually ran out of water and began to drink his own urine, carved his name, date of birth and presumed date of death into the sandstone canyon wall, and videotaped his last goodbyes to his family.

After five days of trying to lift and break the boulder, the dehydrated and delirious Ralston prepared to amputate his trapped arm in order to escape. He forcibly levered his forearm against a chockstone until both the radius and ulnabones broke. Using the dull blade on his multiuse tool, he then cut the soft tissue around the break. He used the tool's pliers to tear at the tougher tendons. Although he never named the manufacturer of the tool other than to say it was not Leatherman, he did describe it as "what you'd get if you bought a $15 flashlight and got a free multi-use tool". After freeing himself, he was still eight miles from his stick shift truck, and he had no cellular phone. He had to rappeldown a 65-foot (20 m) sheer wall, then hike out of the canyon in the hot midday sun. While hiking out, he encountered a family of three on vacation from the Netherlands who gave him water and two Oreo cookies. They then alerted the authorities. He was ultimately rescued by a helicopter search team. His arm was retrieved by park authorities and removed from under the boulder. It was cremated and given to Ralston.


MFU said...

Moral of the story: Always carry a multitool.

santhu said...

also carry a mobile phone